Entering In Like Jesus
“Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us.” John 1:14
“When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
―Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life
This quote poignantly describes one aspect of a good friendship. What stands out is the idea of “sharing in” or “entering in to” someone’s pain as opposed to merely speaking to it from the outside. While Mr. Nouwen is referring specifically to grief and suffering and how a true friend can come alongside another, I want to expand its application to a wider range of experiences – OURS!
Jacob and I and all those who are a daily part of RAU activities and interactions are blessed to experience people’s “entering in to” our lives in a myriad of ways.
Who has friends who will (through monthly gifts, heartfelt donations, fund raisers, exuberant responses to needs made known) share in and help bear the daily cost of keeping a vision alive and real? – We do!
Who has friends (on the other side of the world) who will prioritize their time, muscles, expertise and resources to ensure that we can continue our mission and have the resources we need? – We do!
Who has friends that will set their alarms so they can wake up and enter in to our concerns through vigilant prayer? Or who will Skype? Or write letters? Or immerse themselves in our experience even if only through our Face Book posts? – We do!
AND…who has friends who will travel around the world to very personally enter in to our experience? – We do!
Such is the tangible blessing we enjoyed in the visit of David Jones, Eric and Kara Williams to RAU from August 27th to September 4th. (During some of this time we still had the pleasure of Ron Zeiner’s company, too!) Let’s see…they endured long, cramped flights, bumpy, dusty roads, jet lag, a hike to far away villages, a daily diet of beans and rice and uncomfortable mattresses with morning back aches (except for Eric and Kara!). On the other hand, we had more than our fair share of laughter, camaraderie, and games of Rummy and Spoons (which has been described by some Ugandans as a very violent game!). It was a joy to have Nurse Sam, who was on holiday, back at RAU while our visitors were here. He not only was a great help in doing some medical outreaches but it was so good to hear his voice and laughter echoing through the Guesthouse. Eric said that they came mainly to encourage us…and encourage us, they did!
We were encouraged by their gifts of teaching – David did a great job of helping people see and appreciate the sovereign grace of God in adopting us as His children. Eric reminded all of us of the personal nature of a relationship with the Lord: “taste and see that the Lord is good!” (with the help of a Hershey’s Kiss – you’ll need to ask him about that sometime).
We were encouraged by their Jesus-like hearts as they served the folks who were attending the retreat. David, Eric and Kara —ALL showed their skill in dish washing in addition to the many other ways in which they served.
We were encouraged in their friendship. We learned that Eric is a great hammock hanger and occupier, as is David. David is a loving father (he helped his son to transition to college life…from afar!) Kara is a gifted singer, guitar player and card shark as well as a Registered Nurse. Ron is an encouraging friend and a great resource of knowledge for anyone with questions.
There is only one disappointing thing about their visit – it was TOO short! Jacob and I both had feelings of emptiness and sadness in the wake of their departure, but are so grateful to reminisce about their “entering into” our lives and experience. Thank you Ron, David, Eric and Kara for sharing in our lives and calling, even if for a short while! You were and are a blessing to us!
The loss of their company makes us appreciate even more the daily presence of our RAU family, Zorah and Emma and all who work with us to keep RAU moving forward in its mission. We have been blessed with these young men who are intelligent, hard-working and skilled. We consider it a privilege to invest our friendship, energy, resources and time into their lives and we are strengthened by their gifts. They give us hope for godly, future leadership in this country and in the Church.
As we move forward, please be praying for upcoming events:
*This week we will welcome a group of leaders, men and women, from D.R. Congo for a 4-day retreat which will be our 17th. Pray for them as they travel here and back. Pray for Jacob, Pastor Bob Gad, Emma and Zorah who will be involved in leading this week’s retreat.
*A third meeting has been planned for Jacob with the Imams and Sheikhs from Yumbe on Saturday, September 19th. These men continue to desire and ask for meetings with Jacob to discuss the topic, “Who is Jesus?“. The last two meetings were during the month of Ramadan when the Imams/Sheikhs were fasting. This time, they will all enjoy a meal together, courtesy of RAU.
*The container has reached Kenya and is on its way to Kampala to be reviewed by the URA (Ugandan Revenue Authority). Please pray that it will not be delayed there and that no major tax will be imposed and that it will make its way safely here to RAU. The resources within that container are central to the mission of RAU.
*Once again, we want to place the goal before you of erecting a two-classroom building which will be the start of a more formal Bible training school for key individuals in this area, especially in anticipation of (what we believe will be) a large influx of believers in the West Nile Region and the equally large need of having well-trained pastors to lead these new believers. If you would like to give specifically towards this please indicate on your donation. We have a turn-key bid of $25,000 from our builder.
Thank you for “entering in” through your monetary gifts, resources, prayers, love and friendship. We are blessed!
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